COVER MODEL BODY COACH MARK MCQUAID
Hi my name is Mark McQuaid,
I’m a strength & conditioning coach and personal trainer currently working in the Cover Model Body personal training studio in Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin city.
Here is my story so far..
I have always been involved in fitness and exercise from a very young age. My passion growing up was football, it took over my life. I would play 2-3 times a week with my team and every other day out with friends. As I grew up my love for football didn’t change and I went on to play all the way to my mid/late 20’s. It was probably when I was around 18 I realised I was missing out on one of the most important elements I required to play at a top level, strength!
I was playing at a high level against a lot older and stronger players. I needed to grow. I was always been that scrawny kid that looks like they could blow over on a windy day. I was very physically fit but lacked the strength for the sport I was playing. I had no option but to join a gym, sure that’s what everyone does right?!
Joining a gym in Dublin for the first time is never easy, no matter if you are young like I was when I first started on my journey to building muscle and getting strong or with a different goal in mind. I was like many people I was scared, nervous and clueless! My training was based around YouTube videos and copying other BIG looking people training in the gym which is never a good idea because most are doing things arseways anyway.
I was training like a body builder isolating body parts but it wasn’t working nor was I getting much stronger. I was training 4-5 times a week and still getting nothing to show for it. Even though I wasn’t getting the results I was looking for I still fell in love with the whole idea of weight training and it soon replaced my love of football. Sure who doesn’t want to be stronger and look better? This led me to a new chapter in my life. I went on to college to get my qualifications as a personal trainer and strength & conditioning coach.
I had learned a lot in college regarding how to teach group classes such as step aerobics and circuit training. A small amount on nutrition and science but not enough for what I was looking to know. I was more interested in personal training and needed to know more and look the part if I was to progress to be a top personal trainer. After I had finished college I began to teach boot camps and started looking for a job in a gym. While I was working two days a week I was in the gym a lot, still training the same and still looking at other weight lifters for tips on training.
One day when I was training there was one person that stood out from all the rest, he had a different look to the other people. Still big in size but also with an athletic physique, I hadn’t seen anyone look like that before. I had to approach and pretty much ask how do I look like you. Thinking back now I feel so lucky that the person happened to be a coach and a personal trainer. I had hit the jackpot. Someone I would love to look like and who has all of the knowledge I was craving.
In 2010 I began training with Darragh Hayes. As nervous as I was to start I was looking forward to it at the same time. I think I was more interested to see if it was the real deal or would I struggle to achieve my goals again! After the first few sessions I had realised I had made the right choice. Our sessions began with teaching me how to warm up correctly for weight training and teaching me core and mobility drills as well as technique on all of the big lifts, squat, bench and deadlift.
Even though I had been to college I had to start from scratch. Over the course of our sessions I started to change as a person, I wasn’t sitting down and making all of the wrong choices with my nutrition anymore, formerly with rolled shoulders, I was now sitting and standing up tall, changing my lifestyle, changing my life. No more restless sleeps and no more daytime crashes. Personal training with Darragh inspired me to want to become what I am today, he became my mentor and a really good friend. It was a total change on my outlook and personality. When I was finished I had the confidence and belief to go and spread what I had learned from Darragh and continue my own journey.
I went in search of a job in the health and fitness industry and I was lucky once again to get a job opportunity at Westwood club. I had many interviews during the time since finishing college with different clubs and every one of them gave me the same answer, I was rejected for not having any experience. This is when my luck had changed, the manager in Westwood at that time had seen something in me and gave me a chance. Two weeks work experience turned into four years working with the Westwood team and enjoyed it very much.
I met many people through the years who have helped me progress in my career. Starting my career in there I settled in very quickly and during my time in Westwood I trained a variety of different people with different goals such as fat loss and muscle gain. I also spent time training people with such injuries as being in a wheelchair unable to walk and people that are autistic and I loved every bit of it. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a job when you see their faces as they get results. Near the end of my fourth year in Westwood I went back to train with Darragh a second time.
My second spell with Darragh was slightly different to the first time I had trained with him. I was more experienced and a little bit bigger. I was just under 74kg with around 6% body fat, My new goal was to get to 80kg keep the body fat low and continue to learn from my mentor Darragh. It had been over 3 years since I last trained with Darragh but it was no different, still loads of fun and laughs. I trained with Darragh for over one month and in that time I achieved my goal. I kept my body fat low and on the scales I was 79.6kg. Not only had I reached a goal that I had set but also in that time I had set new goals to strive for.
I improved my strength so much in that short time I have set a goal to compete in powerlifting competitions in the future. Something I would have never thought I could possibly compete in given my struggle to gain size and strength all of those years ago before I met Darragh. As my improvements over the time I was away from Darragh increased so much I was then offered an opportunity to work with Darragh, something I had wanted since I first trained with him. All that hard work paid off, my dream had come true. Sometimes you have to do what others won’t to achieve what others don’t.
So that’s my story so far, I currently love life working in Cover Model Body Gym with great people and enthusiastic clients. If you need any help with diet, training tips or anything else just get in touch and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and look out for more to come
Mark Mc Quaid CPT
Cover Model Body Strength & Conditioning Coach | Personal Trainer Dublin